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South Bronx Healthy and Livable Neighborhoods

Request for Letters of Intent (LOI)

This request for Letters of Intent (LOI) provides information about the purpose, funding priorities, eligibility requirements, and application process for the South Bronx Healthy and Livable Neighborhoods program. This is an open LOI request that is being widely distributed. Feel free to share it with others in your network. Please read the LOI carefully before deciding to apply; the selection process will be highly competitive. Download LOI as PDF or read below.


  1. Date of Release of Letters of Intent Thursday, July 10, 2014
  2. Information Session Monday, July 21, 2014
  3. Letters of Intent Due: Friday, August 15, 2014
  4. Full Proposal Invitation Sent: Friday, September 12, 2014
  5. Full Proposals Due: Friday, October 24, 2014
  6. Notification of Awards: December 2014
An information session will be held on Monday, July 21, 2014 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Bronx for organizations interested in responding to this LOI. If you want to attend please email and provide names of attendees. Only two people per organization can be accommodated. Location information will be sent upon receipt of email.


The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. But for residents of any community to attain physical, mental, and social well-being, the community must offer more than just access to medical care. Environmentally safe surroundings, access to economic opportunity and advancement, and vibrant civic and cultural infrastructure are also critical. These attributes are part of the reason why experts increasingly note that the zip code in which a person lives—and characteristics of that zip-code—are far more likely to predict health outcomes for the residents and the community at large than the genetic code of the individuals involved.

According to the 2014 County Health Rankings by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, better health outcomes are closely linked to neighborhoods where people have access to nutritious and affordable food; safe streets, playgrounds, and public spaces; and robust educational, cultural, and civic institutions. In addition, when community residents have economic opportunities and job security, it facilitates healthy lifestyles. Without good health, it is much more difficult for individuals to get and keep a job, raise and educate their children, and participate in social and cultural activities.1

The New York Community Trust (The Trust) is launching the Healthy and Livable Neighborhoods program for residents of the South Bronx—one of the poorest and least healthy communities in the United States—to improve their health and quality of life. Recognizing the need to go beyond just medical care, Healthy and Livable Neighborhoods builds on previous Trust investments. It seeks to improve the physical, mental, and social well-being of South Bronx residents by strengthening the capacity of families, groups, and institutions to contribute to community health. It will help expand availability of fresh, healthy, affordable food; create safe streets, parks, and other public spaces conducive to physical activity; and improve job opportunities and income security for individuals and families. Finally, Healthy and Livable Neighborhoods will assist in development of healthy indoor and outdoor environments; help schools expand health and wellness activities; and use arts and culture as a means to promote and support good health. The Trust is allocating $700,000 for this program.

Healthy and Livable Neighborhoods is linked to a similar program at the New York State Health Foundation which is also supporting place-based interventions in other areas of the City and State. The Trust and the New York State Health Foundation will offer coordinated technical assistance; create a joint learning community for grantees across the various sites; and conduct a shared evaluation.

Need and Funding Opportunity

Among New York State counties, the Bronx consistently ranks dead last in health and wellness indicators.2 Morbidity and mortality rates due to preventable health problems such as diabetes and asthma are higher for Bronx residents, particularly for those living in the South Bronx, where poverty rates hover at 40 percent or higher. For example, according to a 2013 report by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the South Bronx is one of five areas in New York City with the highest rates of diabetes.3

Exacerbating this already critical situation is the growing obesity epidemic in the South Bronx, where 4 in 10 children are overweight or obese.4 Obesity is a major concern because it increases the risk for diabetes and other chronic diseases, particularly for the next generation. Asthma rates are also high in the South Bronx, most notably in the neighborhoods of Hunts Point, Mott Haven, and Morrisania. Asthma is a costly disease not only for the State Medicaid program, but for the thousands of children and adults in the South Bronx whose life prospects are diminished by a disease that keeps them out of school and work.5

Focus and Priority Areas

To improve the health of South Bronx residents, The New York Community Trust will provide $700,000 in grants, using an approach that focuses on improving the socio-economic status and the underlying factors that impact health and wellness. The Trust will make up to three grants for coordinated, multi-agency and cross-sector partnerships, for projects up to 24 months.

Letters of Intent are invited for projects that:
  1. Capitalize on community assets in the targeted South Bronx neighborhoods;
  2. Expand the reach and impact of existing healthy, livable community efforts;
  3. Focus on at least one of the following two priority areas:

Priority I: Physical and Mental Well Being
  • Expand community-based diabetes and obesity prevention
  • Enhance emotional resiliency of residents in targeted neighborhoods

Priority II: Healthy Food and Physical Activity
  •  Increase access to healthy and affordable food options
  •  Increase availability of healthy food for students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade
  •  Increase physical activity in/out of school settings; and among adults at risk of chronic health problems
Competitive projects will also include one or more of the additional priorities:

Priority III: Healthy Indoor and Outdoor Environments
  • Protect and improve family health through reduction or elimination of asthma triggers in/outside the home
  •  Increase the use of and access to safe, well-designed and maintained open spaces
  •  Improve outdoor air quality by reducing emissions from buildings and other sources of air pollution and supporting the development of green spaces
Priority IV: Economic Self-Sufficiency
  • Increase job opportunities for young adults and other high-risk populations in growing industries
  • Increase residents’ access to social supports that increase income security, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit
Priority V: Arts and Cultural Engagement
  • Integrate arts and culture into healthy, livable community practices
  • Expand of residents’ engagement in arts and cultural activities that enhance individual, family, and community wellness
Projects should have the potential to create healthy and livable communities in target neighborhood(s) through a combination of direct service, policy advocacy, and systemic change. Projects funded under this LOI will be eligible for renewal grants based on their potential to create measurable improvements in the health and wellness of individuals, families, and communities that are sustainable over time.

Target Neighborhoods

Projects must focus on specific South Bronx neighborhoods, with a particular interest in Hunts Point, Morrisania, and Mott Haven, neighborhoods with a 45 percent poverty rate, the highest in New York City. 6


  1. Projects that involve multiple organizations across sectors, with joint activity by all partners will be considered.
  2. Single agency efforts will not be considered.
  3. The lead applicant must be headquartered in the Bronx, serve the targeted neighborhoods, and be a 501(c)(3) organization. This includes (but is not limited to) a settlement house, community development corporation, social service agency, or arts and cultural group.
  4. Collaborating agencies need not be headquartered in the Bronx, but should already be working in the targeted neighborhoods. In addition to non-profits, collaborating agencies can include (but are not limited to) for-profit organizations, food industry partners, primary care providers, educational institutions, and government entities.
  5. If funded, grantees must participate in a learning community and external evaluation.

What to include in the LOI

The LOI should be no more than five pages, single spaced, in Times New Roman 12 point font. The LOI should provide the following information:

Applicant Information
  1. Provide information on the lead organization’s mission. Describe current programs and activities directly connected to the focus and priority areas.
  2. Provide a brief description of each collaborating organizations. Include information about current programs that relate to the focus and priority areas.
Executive Summary
3. An executive summary that describes:
a) the current situation/issue the project intends to address
b) what the situation will look like when the desired outcome(s) is achieved
c) the activities necessary to achieve the desired outcome(s)
d) resources required to achieve the desired outcome(s)

Focus and Priorities
4. Which of the first two focus and priority areas will the project address?
5. Are there additional focus and priority areas that the project will address?

Neighborhoods and Target Beneficiaries
6. List South Bronx neighborhoods to be targeted by the project.
7. Who are the direct beneficiaries and how will they be engaged?

Goals and Activities
8. List project goals and expected outcome(s) over the course of the grant and beyond
9. Detail main activities and timeline needed to achieve the expected outcome(s). The grant can cover up to 24 months of activity.

Letters of Commitment (Not part of the five page limit)
10. Submit a letter of commitment signed by each collaborating organization’s executive director indicating the role the collaborating agency will play in the project.

Budget (Not part of the five page limit)
11. Provide a budget summary with an estimate of resources (financial and other) needed by lead and collaborating organizations to carry out the effort. The lead organization must agree to serve as a funds administrator for the other partners.

Deadline and Submission Process

  •  The LOI, commitment letters, and budget summary are due on or before 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, August 15, 2014.
  • Submissions will only be accepted electronically as a single PDF file sent to the following email Please put Healthy and Livable Neighborhoods and lead organization’s name in the subject line.
  • LOIs submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

Review Process

  • LOIs will be reviewed by a committee of Trust staff and other experts. LOIs judged most consistent with the Healthy and Livable Neighborhoods goals will be notified by Friday, September 12, 2014.
  • Selected LOI applicants will work with a consultant—identified and paid for by The Trust—to develop a full proposal which will be due by Friday, October 24, 2014.
  • Grants will be awarded in December 2014 for projects to start in January 2015.
  • Questions can be emailed to with Healthy and Livable Neighborhoods in the subject line.


[1] The Measure of America, American Human Development Report, 2008-2009, Social Science Research Council and Columbia University Press

[2] 2014 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps: Key Findings, University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, 2014

[3] Epi Data Brief, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2013

[4] Obesity in the South Bronx: A look across generations, A Neighborhood Report from the Bronx Public Health Office, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; 2007 (Matte T, Ellis JA, Bedell J, Selenic D, Young C, Deitcher D.)

[5] The Prevalence and Cost of Asthma in New York State; Thomas P. DiNapoli New York State Comptroller; April 2014

[6] The State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods 2012, NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, 2012.

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